Speaking to the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee the other day, Vice President Joe Biden said: "Israel has to work toward a two-state solution."
"You're not going to like my saying this," he added, but the Jewish state should not build more settlements on Palestinian territory, and should "dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement."
Actually, it is doubtful that many people in that audience disliked - or even disagreed with -- Biden's admonitions. The same is true in Israel where polls have for years shown widespread support for the dream of Jewish and Palestinian Arab states living in peace and aspiring to cooperation, if not friendship. As for dismantling settlements and giving up land - a commodity pint-sized Israel does not have in abundance - Israelis have repeatedly demonstrated that they are prepared to make significant concessions.
In exchange for a peace treaty with Egypt, Israel in 1982 withdrew all its soldiers and settlers from the Sinai, a territory almost three times the size of Israel. In 2005, Israel dismantled every settlement and outpost in Gaza. Both the Sinai and Gaza, it should be recalled, were taken from Egypt as the consequence of a war launched by Egypt -- one of several wars waged by Israel's Arab neighbors with the goal of wiping Israel off the map.
The result of Israel's exodus from Gaza, as the syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer recently observed, is that the Palestinians "already have a state." The problem, he noted, is that it's "a terrorist state that has been at war with Israel ever since the day the Israelis left."
The Palestinians in Gaza have chosen Hamas to rule them. Hamas is a militant Islamist organization funded and instructed by Iran's ruling mullahs. In its religious ideology, it is virtually indistinguishable from the Taliban and al-Qaeda. It wages what it calls a jihad to exterminate Israel. That is its contribution to the global, radical Islamic revolution against infidels and moderate Muslims. All of this is a matter of fact, not conjecture. Hamas leaders articulate it unambiguously. The Hamas Charter is nothing if not candid.
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